If you’ve ever do any volunteering then you will know that it can be one of the best experiences or one of the most rewarding thing you will do. I wanted to talk about the great experiences and skills you can get from both National organisations and your local organisations.
Here is my volunteering journey which started at 14 years old at my local youth club. I’ve volunteered for a large amount of local organisation and events over 10 years. In 2012 I started volunteering national and locally for StreetGames where I was volunteer at the local session working with young children coaching sport but on a national level I was a young advisor helping to organise youth conferences and started doing their social media and photography at large events. My most recently volunteering role has been for Spirit of 2012 as a member of their Youth Advisory Panel which was a 2 year commitment.
As you can see I’ve got quite a bit of knowledge of working for both local and national organisation so that is why I’ve spilt this post into 3 main section that I think are important when comparing national volunteering to local volunteering.
When most people think of volunteering experience they think of working in your local charity shop or even helping out on a Saturday at your local football club. The experiences you can gain in your local area can be some of the easiest way to expand your CV and showing employers that you are happy to spend time learning and get experience.
The experiences you can get from local organisations are:
- Opportunities that only happen in your area ( E.G. Tall Ships/ Great North Run/Local fun days)
- Create a network that can relate to your CV in your area
- Learn new skills
The main experience you get from volunteering at a national level is that a lot of the time you are working at a higher level and sometimes even at a professional level. For all the national roles that I have been a part of I’ve had to apply for like a professional job. I’ve found that national roles are like getting a promotion in the job world.
The experiences you can get from National organisations are:
- Working as part of a long distance team.
- You could be representing you region or you country.
- Learning to commutate digitally and managing your time differently.
- Having to go through a application for the role.
- You can be part of a very small team or get to work with people from all over the UK or even the world.
- You can get to travel
- You can create a national network rather than just a local network
- Chances to go to large national events (Olympics, National Conferences)
Volunteering is all about how much time you actually want to give but sometimes you have to give some commitment.
Local organisation or events might only have you give up a day of you time or you might decide to do it on regular bases. I did 2 hours a week with local organisation and I would do a number of different one off events throughout the year with most of them either being a full day or even just a morning out of my time. Working with this local organisation then went on to bigger opportunities and skill development which I go on to later but giving up your time shows you are committed to the organisation. With local organisation it is easy to give your time but it’s also easier to not have to commit to it as well.
National organisation can be very different when it come to the time they want you to commit. The time you are asked to commit to depends on what the organisation needs and the role you go for. Some opportunities might be a day event or could be a couple of weeks like volunteering at the Olympics or the Commonwealth Games. Then there is other roles that might take a longer commitment my role at spirit of 2012 was a 2 years commitment with me doing a different range of hours throughout the time. I had to make a commitment to the organisation at that time even when I didn’t know how my life might track out but I knew that this role was going to be a stand out on my CV.
With national opportunities normally comes commitment and this is because you could be part of big organised event or a long term plan.
Most people get into volunteering to build their skills because they want to their CV’s. Which is a great reason to get into volunteering but again national organisation offer a very different skill development to local organisations
Examples of Skills you can develop with local organisations
- Learning to communicate with the public (charity shops/local youth projects)
- learning to deal with specific scenarios
- Team work
I find that with national organisation your skills are maybe more job specific skill development or a extension of your job/degree.
Examples of skills you can develop with national organisations
- learning to work part of a long distance team.
- learning to work digitally through meeting.
- Learning to communicate efficiently
- learning to handle your time
- Learning to commit the time you have efficiently.
- learning to network with the organisation you are working with but also the organisation that they work with.
- Learning skills that might be very job specific (e.g grant application)
I think for both local and national organisation the amount of skills you can develop is huge and all depends on if you go for a job specific or if you wanting to develop certain skills you might work with specific organisations but that is the great thing about volunteering is that you have the choice to choose who you work with and get to try out things without the stress of maybe job type stresses and most volunteering opportunities are fun and all about learning.
I hope you enjoyed this post and you learnt something new about volunteering. If you want to check out my blog it is http://www.thegirlandthetreadmill.co.uk and I talk about fitness, lifestyle and volunteering.